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China government bans sale of Bibles

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The Chinese government has banned online retailers from selling the Bible, moving in the wake of new rules to control the country’s burgeoning religious scene.

The measures to limit Bible sales were announced over the weekend and began taking effect this week. By Thursday, internet searches for the Bible came up empty on leading online Chinese retailers.

The move aligns with a longstanding effort to limit the influence of Christianity in China. Among China’s major religions — which include Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and folk beliefs — Christianity is the only one whose major holy text cannot be sold through normal commercial channels.

The Bible is printed in China but legally available only at church bookstores. The ban follows new government religious regulations that have effectively tightened rules on Christianity and Islam, while promoting Buddhism, Taoism and folk religion as part of President Xi Jinping’s efforts to promote traditional values.

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